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February 27th, 2014
08:52 PM ET

Gingrich: food labels are symbolic liberalism

Crossfire host Newt Gingrich along with Sally Kohn debate if recent changes to nutrition labels are an overreach of government power.

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Filed under: Debates • Health • Margo Wootan • Michelle Obama • Rick Berman • Sally Kohn
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. Dan-LA

    Mr. Grinch and his fellow GOP cohorts need to brush up on the basic principles of capitalism. Economists say that markets work best when consumers have ALL the information needed to make good choices. Labeling food has been one of the most succesful ways to encourage healthy eating. Without knowing what is in our food, do we simply take corporations at their word? Without regulation, we have seen time and time again that corporations put profits over health, environment and safety. I am so glad I don't live in the world of the GOP. Need we forgot the horrible pollution and death caused by unfrettered capitalism.

    March 4, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Reply
  2. Ctrygrl

    I guess that makes me liberal then because I want to see even more information on food labels, and I think the fact that a product contains high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, added sugar, or sodium nitrate should be in big letters on the front of the package.

    March 3, 2014 at 5:33 pm | Reply
  3. HJA

    All government regulations are bad. Just look at how well Ronald Reagan's deregulating the banking industry turned out. All businesses have the people's best needs at heart.

    March 3, 2014 at 4:05 pm | Reply
  4. Doc

    It's plain to see that the gin-grinch doesn't want people to know that soylent green is people!

    March 3, 2014 at 2:56 pm | Reply
  5. siestasis

    So will Gingrich ban food labels on his moon colony?

    March 3, 2014 at 1:03 pm | Reply
  6. Jack

    I really to question crossfire hiring Newt Gingrich!

    March 3, 2014 at 12:34 pm | Reply
    • Chuck

      Hopefully, they're not paying him much.

      March 3, 2014 at 4:55 pm | Reply
  7. Jack

    I am retired farmer, now a business owner and Mr. Gingrich, you are again wrong!

    March 3, 2014 at 12:31 pm | Reply
  8. McShannon

    Newt, Newt what are you saying? That honest labeling of foods is a liberal thing? Whoa big guy you must have just fell off the pedestal that you imagined yourself on and bumped your head obviously causing irrational thought. Personally I like to know what I'm consuming but then your so full of malarkey that you have trouble buttoning your shirt. However we do know that you should have read the labels before consuming some foods if only to check for calories.

    March 3, 2014 at 11:22 am | Reply
  9. Bubba

    Oh the horror. Telling Americans about the crap they are eating, that is actually killing them, is nothing short of communism. Only when America allows Corporations to poison American Citizens at will, will we all be free.
    And you believe this, then you deserve the cardiac arrest that is headed your way.

    March 2, 2014 at 11:00 pm | Reply
  10. Kevin

    Ignorance....its a conservative thing.

    March 2, 2014 at 7:03 pm | Reply
  11. Tony

    Gingrich believes that you have to eat the food so that you can find out what is in it.

    March 1, 2014 at 4:30 pm | Reply
    • Smitty

      Is that like that Idiot Pelosi, pass it to see whats in it ??? Just thank Obammy for setting the libs back decades !!!!

      March 3, 2014 at 12:29 pm | Reply
      • Leo

        How is that like wanting to know what I'm feeding my family smitty?

        March 3, 2014 at 8:38 pm |
    • bisusinha

      Like he tested so many women. He didn't like any of them. Now he is testing Ms. Callista. We are yet to see if he likes it. Wonderful taste judgment he has acquired.

      March 3, 2014 at 1:53 pm | Reply
  12. American Peanut Company

    It's obviously part of a liberal conspiracy. There shouldn't be any government regulations like labels. You can trust corporations to always put the health and safety of the public over profits.

    February 28, 2014 at 9:36 pm | Reply
  13. Pablo695

    Newt Gingrich remains "The Symbol" of a GOP loser....

    February 28, 2014 at 7:44 pm | Reply
  14. Tony

    In this case, Gingrich sounds like an irrational, self-deluded Teaparty member.

    There's great meaning and value in those labels for millions of Americans on special diets–for just one point. And to blame "Liberals" for that is just another in a continuing tirade from the Right against all things "Liberal" (including liberty itself).

    February 28, 2014 at 5:36 pm | Reply
    • Doug

      Could not have said it better

      March 1, 2014 at 8:01 pm | Reply
    • Hill

      Wait until Newt has his first cardio issue, then he will become Mr. Watchdog blaming corporations for poisoning him.

      March 2, 2014 at 11:39 am | Reply
  15. dboy

    I like Crossfire. I do not like that the liberals constantly interrupt the conservatives, and SE and Newt just sit there politely. I know that they have to treat the liberals with kid gloves, as they make little sense, (and CNN wants to show liberals in the best light), but it is too obvious! Expand the show to 1 hour, put it in that useless Piers Morgans time slot, (Don't let lady liberty slap you on the fanny as you fly back to socialist Britain, Piers!)
    PS, S.E. remember how sick to your stomach you felt when you were at BSNBC? But you told yourself it was worth it, cuz someday, you would get a gig where you could be yourself? Well? When are we going to get to see the S.E. Cupp that raise the intellectual level of Red Eye? Or does your contract with CNN have a "Don't make the liberal cry" clause in it, like BSNBC? And Newt, once in a while, tear Stephanie and Van a new one, they deserve it, or as Georgians are wont to say "Show them where the bear crapped in the buckwheat!"

    February 28, 2014 at 4:22 pm | Reply
    • Tony

      It's an interesting view of the world you have.

      February 28, 2014 at 6:34 pm | Reply
    • Jim M

      Maybe your TV is backwards.

      March 1, 2014 at 10:30 am | Reply
    • Pander Bear

      You forgot to add "And you kids stay off my lawn!".

      March 3, 2014 at 4:00 pm | Reply
  16. Fashby

    I read food labels now and make food purchases based on them. I need a low sodium diet and the labels help me select foods compatible with that. Its shocking how many foods on the market are loaded with sodium. Perhaps Newt ignores the label (which he wouldn't if he really knew as much as he pretends to), but he shouldn't assume that everyone does. Is he also against car manufacturers being required to show mpg ratings?

    February 28, 2014 at 4:19 pm | Reply
    • Pablo695

      It's certain the Neutered ignores the calorie counts on all labels...

      February 28, 2014 at 7:52 pm | Reply
    • Thinker

      I can't eat gluten. I use the labels to make sure I'm not eating something I shouldn't.

      March 3, 2014 at 9:04 pm | Reply
  17. The Real Tom Paine

    Its a pity conservatives seem to resent information being made available to them: its like they really want to be told what to do, in spite of all the prattling about "Freedom" and " Liberty". No wonder they've fallen in love with Putin.

    February 28, 2014 at 4:11 pm | Reply
    • rburnett2861

      Conservatives whine about being told what to do, but yet they are willing to follow along to whatever their lame brain leaders, and right wing media tells them. Their stupidity comes from their brain cells being ate up by hatred. So it shouldn't surprise you when stupid things come out of their mouths. I look forward to waking up reading something stupid that one of them has to say.

      March 3, 2014 at 10:09 am | Reply
  18. dboy

    People are obese because they eat more calories than they burn off. That is all there is to it. You are taught in school, all about calories, good foods, etc. so you should not need color coded labels. But I digress, liberals always need a villain. That way, you, the sucker, I mean potential voter, can be a victim and feel blameless. So blame corporations, the 1%, the tea party, straight white men, and food stamps that tell you to buy Cheetos instead of cabbage. Hey liberals! Ya know what you left out? The silverware industry! Yeah! Those knives forks and spoons are making you fat too! And don't forget the evil corporations that make plates and bowls too big! God forbid you just quit stuffing your fat face and exercise a bit.

    February 28, 2014 at 4:07 pm | Reply
    • jboh

      You make no sense. Is the D for dumb?

      March 3, 2014 at 10:44 am | Reply
  19. StephenR

    Before we had government oversight on food production, up to 25% of all food was contaminated. Teddy Roosevelt sought to change that, and to protect the people he swore an oath to protect. His progressive policies, continued later by presidents FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy are literally what made this country the safest and most economically powerful in the world.

    If simply knowing what is in our food is somehow offensive to you, then you are truly nuts. Any idiot knows that corporations will stop at nothing to cheat us and lie to us in order to make bigger profits. It has been proven time and again that only government oversight can protect us from these monsters. That's government's most important job after all: to provide for the welfare of the people, exactly as the Constitution mandates, word for word.

    In this ongoing political battle between government and corporate power, ask yourself: which group can be voted out of power if they do bad things? It's not a trick question, people. Do you want corporations to have unchecked power to abuse us? That's called corporate dictatorship, and we will be closer to it than ever before if conservatives get their way. They will destroy everything we've spent 238 years building.

    February 28, 2014 at 4:05 pm | Reply
  20. Chuck

    If letting people know what they are buying and consuming is symbolic of liberalism, I'm all for liberalism. that has to be one of Newt's most inane comments yet.

    BTW, Newt, the wife and I read the labels and choose accordingly.

    February 28, 2014 at 1:50 pm | Reply
  21. O'drama ya Mama

    New Republican talking point "food labels kill jobs"

    February 28, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Reply
  22. jboh

    Of course it's liberalism to cancer Gingrich. It lets people know what they are buying. I think TEA/GOP hero Reagan preached about how we need informed consumers. He only wants mis informed consumers.

    February 28, 2014 at 11:49 am | Reply
  23. Rob

    Hi Mr. Gingrich, I read the food labels and rely on them, calories, carbs, ingredients and fat. I often forget to take servings into account and its would be good to highlight that. I'm not sure if the changes add any value but I really do rely on the nutrition labels. I would like added sugars broken out. I suspect you do not do the grocery shopping in your family; otherwise, you would not say that nobody reads them. Go to the grocery store and watch people!

    I am not big gov, but I want my tax dollars to continue to keep our food safe. I don't yet know if I want sugar taxed or regulated. Certainly don't like regulation but I wonder how much of my insurance premiums is spent on people with nutrition problems.

    Thanks for the topic.

    February 28, 2014 at 11:36 am | Reply
  24. Hector Slagg

    Don't drink the Hemlock!

    February 28, 2014 at 10:00 am | Reply
    • The Real Tom Paine

      Another worthless comment from the reality-challanged Hector. What's the problem this time? Infuriated because the serving size on the label is telling you that your chances of being a diabetic slob are higher if you shovel the whole boxc into your face at once? I guess you yearn for the days when whale oil and cocaine were in patent medicines.

      February 28, 2014 at 4:08 pm | Reply
  25. Franny

    Gingrich is the reason I cannot abide Crossfire, and refuse to watch it as long as he is present!

    February 28, 2014 at 8:10 am | Reply
    • Chuck

      Yep, we turn the channel or hit the mute button the instant he appears (on any program).

      February 28, 2014 at 12:48 pm | Reply
    • media.fail2012

      Oh I'm sure you both do. Liberals can't stand hearing opposing points of view. As a matter of fact, to liberals fascism is perfectly okay so long as they are in charge.

      March 1, 2014 at 10:44 am | Reply
      • Chuck

        Actually, I welcome opposing points of view when they are supported by rational thought and verifiable facts. When they are just so much hot air or contain labels and terms (like fascism ) that I ignore as it's obvious that the person has no clue as to what they are referring to.

        fascism |ˈfa sh ˌizəm| (also Fascism)
        an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.

        The term Fascism was first used of the totalitarian right-wing nationalist regime of Mussolini in Italy (1922–43), and the regimes of the Nazis in Germany and Franco in Spain were also fascist. Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one national or ethnic group (like tea party patriots or white christians).

        March 1, 2014 at 5:04 pm |
      • Franny

        The hypocrisy of Gingrich is just too nauseating, and he has little common sense. That's my reason. What's your reasons for defending this hypocrite? Just curious, but I really cannot imagine many reasons. Is it that silly grin?

        March 3, 2014 at 7:42 am |
      • jboh

        I always turn off the TEA/GOP clowns when they turn on the rant recorder. I don't need to hear the same, tired old gas baggery more than once.

        March 3, 2014 at 10:47 am |
  26. Minnie Mouse

    What Michelle Obama is doing is a great thing for all of us as consumers, individuals and parents. It doesn't matter who she is in our government but at the time she's the "First Lady" and stepping up for us. This is a large issue and needs to be addressed and resolved. We have every right to know exactly what goes into our foods and beverages that we consume. As of now we are all being mislead in several areas. You buy something and no clue that some products are really two servings and no clue how much sugar are in products et. Sugar is the largest leading cause to tooth problems and especially in our children.

    Who goes out and buys a pack of Ramen Noodle soup and cuts it in 1/2? According to the package it's supposed to feed 2 people and it barely feeds one. So now you have double the salt in the product if you eat the entire package and the salt content is huge. Sodium is a large factor that leads to high blood pressure.

    If the food and beverage industries don't like telling consumers the 100% truth then maybe this will lead them into cutting down in salt, sugar ect.. to make the food and beverages more healthy products to sell to the consumers.

    I totally commend the "First Lady" for what she is doing. There are very few people beside the wealthy who can just go out and buy anything they want and let alone don't even have to look at the prices. Most people have to stick to a budget and a grocery list, so what we can only afford to buy we all deserve to eat and drink healthy foods. Not to buy stuff that's going to lead us all into bad health. The fruits and vegetables that are fresh and so over priced that it forces people with tight budgets to buy frozen or canned which has little to no nutrients at all. What she is doing is necessary and it's time for the government to step in because nothing has been done about it. We all deserve better as consumers and let alone we are taxed on our food as well.

    February 28, 2014 at 7:00 am | Reply
  27. Michael Hippenhammer

    Is Newt a joke? Nobody reads the nutrition lables!? My body has a difficult time processing cholesterol and my life depends on knowing how much trans fats and saturated fats and cholesterol are in the food I eat. Others are diabetic and some have food alergies and some want to know how many calories they take in. These lables are life savers for many of us. The only reason Republicans hate the truth in labeling is so they can protect the big food companies profits! To hell with the health of the people!

    February 28, 2014 at 4:00 am | Reply
    • Chuck

      Michael H.: Was that first question rhetorical? If not, the answer is 'yes'.

      February 28, 2014 at 6:19 pm | Reply
  28. brad byers

    Yes, the government can try to lead people in the right direction – but it usually does not work. Don't fool yourself Ms. Obama – I'm a teaching assistant in a Las Vegas middle school. When small bags of fruit (apples, pears, grapes) are distributed as a side item to their hot lunch of pizza at lunchtime, easily 80% of the fruit bags are thrown in the trash. I mean everyday! Whatever the "good food" item is, it is not going to be eaten by 80% of the students. So why serve it?

    February 28, 2014 at 2:05 am | Reply
    • Peter

      Um, for the 20% who eat them maybe? (assuming that your statistic is accurate)

      By your observation, we've got 20%, 1 in 5, parents so good at raising their young children to eat healthy that those children will do so even without parental supervision. Thus making those 1 in 5 children statistically more likely to lead healthier, longer, more productive lives. And you want to take that from them. Thanks a lot. 1 in 5 parents must think you're great.

      February 28, 2014 at 2:06 pm | Reply
    • Tony

      When the kids are getting too many BAD calories and eat only what "Tastes good to them" (the bad calorie foods), surprise, they'll throw 80% of the good stuff away.

      You and parents have to do their part, do they not? Why are letting them waste so much nutritious food????

      It takes a village. You look at it with a defeatist attitude.

      February 28, 2014 at 2:53 pm | Reply
  29. Tim

    As a liberal, i'm excited and pleased the gingrich recognises liberal leadership in public health and safety.

    February 28, 2014 at 12:14 am | Reply
  30. Debra Howard

    I am getting to the point of overload as to what Government has to do with our lives....., This is NOT the America I was born into..! Government makes their share of mistakes..I mean big ones., They say I am sorry and off we go to wonderland, but we as Tax paying Americans can't choose what we want for breakfast..I think they have so many roles handed down to us, it is like we have no brains or a thought process, and when we exercise that right..we are wrong. Washington has gotten way too big !

    February 27, 2014 at 11:33 pm | Reply
    • jboh

      Telling people what is in food is not dictating what you can eat. It also is not controlling every aspect of your life. Your post makes me believe you don't have a functional brain. Get your head out of Blimpbaugh's backside. You may learn(on no that dirty word again) something.

      February 28, 2014 at 11:53 am | Reply
    • MilkToast

      We still get to choose what we eat. All this is doing is put information on the foods we consume so we can make educated choices. A free market doesn't work with an uninformed populace. You really need to calm down.

      February 28, 2014 at 12:41 pm | Reply
    • Chuck

      Really? You're complaining about allowing people to know what's in the food they eat? No one is forcing you to read it but for some people it may be crucial to their health. What's the big deal? The manufacturer's know what's in it. They print on every square of the package anyway.

      Where yo paid for your post?

      February 28, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Reply
    • Peter

      Doubling the font size of calories and adding an "added sugar" entry took you to the point of overload? Have you considered medication?

      February 28, 2014 at 2:09 pm | Reply
    • The Real Tom Paine

      How did you feel about trans-vaginal scans? Were you ok with that? If your answer is yes, you've just proven what a tool you are.

      February 28, 2014 at 4:25 pm | Reply
  31. kurt

    I'm not sure how even conservatives can be upset with regulations that simply require businesses to be honest with their customers.

    Requiring businesses to tell people what's in the food they're selling... how on earth can you think that's some sort of overreach?

    Are you honestly saying companies should be free to lie to us or hide the harmful things they put in the food they sell us?

    February 27, 2014 at 10:56 pm | Reply
    • The Real Tom Paine

      The answer would be a resounding " YES", because the virtuous businessman should not be burdened with honesty when there is money to be made.

      February 28, 2014 at 4:26 pm | Reply

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